With more than 100 million people playing poker around the world and 60 million poker players in the USA alone, it’s hardly a surprise that a famous face or two like to occasionally join in the action. As well as Hollywood stars, international musicians and business moguls, the odd sportsman likes to creep in – no doubt capitalising on their cool head and competitive natures to bring home the big bucks. Today we’re looking at a few NFL stars who play regularly and who’ve even graced the World Series of Poker (WSOP) with their presence!
The seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end for the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots is no stranger to the poker table. Since retiring from the NFL back in 2012, Seymour has taken home $125,000 in poker winnings and even secured an 18th place finish in the $10,000 WPT Five Diamond Main Event. The man himself admitted that following his retirement, he still felt that drive to take on opponents and win, and that led him to poker.
“I get to compete from a mental intelligence standpoint. I have always thought that the game of poker was about people, relationships and situations where you have to make really good decisions on the spot. I am fascinated with poker and really enjoy the game.”
2017 was Seymour’s fourth consecutive year at the World Series of Poker!
Arizona Cardinal, Calais Campbell doesn’t just have his sites set on Superbowl victory – he’s expressly stated that he wants to be victorious in the World Series of Poker before he dies! It looks like he’s on the right track. In 2016, Campbell knocked 2013 Main Event champion, Ryan Riess out of a WSOP event. Of the victory, he stated; “I got some good money out of him. He said he thought he might be paying me off but that he had to call and I was like, ‘YES!’. To me that’s like him coming onto the field and trying to pancake block me or something.”
Campbell began his poker playing career alongside his teammates at the University of Miami. “We used to do a weekly home game in the off-season. We weren’t playing for much, dollars and quarters on the table, but we had fun.” Oh how times have changed!
While more famous as tight end for the NFL’s Detroit Lions, Eric Stocz is a regular in Las Vegas for the WSOP Main Event. Again, Stocz was driven to take up poker in a bid to channel his competitive energy somewhere – somewhere where he wasn’t as likely to get injured! Stocz achieved his first cash victory in a live poker match back in 2008 and has been hooked ever since. Over the years, he’s notched up more the $60,000 in live tournament earnings, and has stated that his poker career highlight was ending in the money at the World Series Event for $30,974 in 2011.